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Community cat earns honorary ‘degree’ from Castleton

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Community cat earns honorary ‘degree’ from Castleton


BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) – Back in 2022, the UVM women’s club lacrosse team made it all the way to the WCLA D2 National Championship game before falling to Loyola Maryland. Last year, the Cats finished third in the country. But this year, Vermont finally got over the hump.
“It was awesome,” said senior attacker May Cassidy. “I mean our first time that we went, we were all sophomores. And we went in #14 seed, like not really expecting to do well. So finishing secnd was awesome for us. And then we were just super excited to come back.”
“Sophomore, junior year, we were like so close to getting the title,” added senior midfielder Annika More. “I think like it being our senior year, we just really wanted to get out there and win.”
The cats earned an at-large bid to the national tournament as the #4 seed, and they had no trouble dispatching rival UNH and Denver in group play to advance to the national semifinals.
“Obviously we played UNH early on, which again we played a lot this season,” said national midfielder of the year Ella Malik. “And it was exciting to play a few other teams we hadn’t played before.”
“Just like having so many teams from all across the country, it’s really cool to see everybody come together,” added senior defender Hayley Zielinski. “Gives you like an insight into how like the different coasts play lacrosse.”
The Cats downed top seed Cal State San Marcos in the semifinals, earning a fourth meeting of the season with Providence in the national title game.
“One of my favorite things about this team is no matter who we play, we just come out ready to play,” said senior midfielder Lilly Egenberg. “And again, we know Providence, they know us, we know them and I think we just were ready to play and we came out harder and I think we wanted it more.”
The Cats fell behind early, but eventually seized control, coasting to a 14-8 win and the program’s first ever national title. It’s especially sweet considering all the challenges this group has had to overcome in their lacrosse careers.
“I think it was really special for all of us,” said senior midfielder Paisley Broadhurst. “Especially being seniors, like in high school, none of us got a senior season. We’ve all just become like super close. And our grade is the smallest on the team so it’s like easy for us all to just like hang out. And to be able to accomplish this all together, I think it’s gonna be a core memory for all of us for sure.”
Head coach Rhiannon Brown is excited for the future of the program, but she also knows this senior class is irreplaceable.
“I’ve played lacrosse for about 10 years before I came to UVM, and I don’t think that I ever had the pleasure of having a senior class like this,” Brown said. “Whether it be my senior classes or ones that I’ve had on my teams. So this group in particular is one that’s going to be near next to impossible to replace. We do have a really strong core on our team that I’m really excited for them to step up and play…but this class in particular is gonna leave a forever mark on our program.”



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Vermont

Obituary: Marion Elizabeth (Provost) Blanchette, 1929-2024

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Obituary: Marion Elizabeth (Provost) Blanchette, 1929-2024


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  • Courtesy
  • Marion Blanchette

Marion Elizabeth (Provost) Blanchette, 95, of South Burlington died on May 21, 2024.

She was born to the late Edith (Ellwood) Provost and Daniel Provost on February 13, 1929, in Burlington. She married William George Blanchette in 1946, shortly after he returned from the war.

William and Marion spent their married lives in several towns in Chittenden County: Winooski, Burlington, Colchester and South Burlington. They wintered for many years in Palm Bay, Fla.

Marion attended Cathedral High School and worked for 35 years for the Catholic Diocese of Vermont, primarily at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and Saint John Vianney Church.

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She was predeceased by her husband, William, and her three siblings: Danny Provost, Bob Provost and Peggy (Provost) Bostock.

Marion is survived by her son, Bradley Napoleon Blanchette, and his spouse, J. Timothy Bourne, of North Hero; and her daughter, Laurie Edith Blanchette, and her companion, Stephen Daily, of South Burlington. She is also survived by her three grandchildren: Bradley Stevens, Mason Stevens and Cole Stevens. Additionally, she is survived by many nephews, nieces, great-nieces, great-nephews, great-great-nieces, and great-great nephews.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the McClure Miller Respite House of Colchester, Vt.

A
mass of Christian burial will be held on June
3, 2024, 11 a.m., at Saint John Vianney’s in South
Burlington, where Marion and William were long-standing parishioners.
The family has chosen not to have a viewing. Immediately following
the funeral, Marion will be buried at Resurrection Park, adjacent to
the church.

Arrangements are in the care of Ready Funeral & Cremation Services. To send online condolences, please visit readyfuneral.com.

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Vermont City Marathon kicks off on Sunday

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Vermont City Marathon kicks off on Sunday


BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) – With the Vermont City Marathon just days away, set up for the annual event is just beginning at the Waterfront Center in Burlington.

This is the 35th Vermont City Marathon and there are a small handful of runners who have ran the 26.2 every year since the marathon began in 1989. Running it 35 times is a next-level achievement.

South Burlington native Rob O’Brien now lives in Ohio but makes returning to Vermont a priority every Memorial Day weekend to crank out 26.2 miles.

“It’s a good excuse to come home and see everybody,” said O’Brien.

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He reflects on when the marathon was a small race with a much different route. In the first event in 1989, he says runners blocked people from boating on Mallet’s Bay.

“Everything’s changed over time, but it’s still fun to do it though,” he said.

He’s been joined by his niece and nephew and has seen his fair share of wacky weather like pouring rain, extreme heat, and even snow.

“One year early on where it was 93 on Saturday and then on Sunday, it was like 38 and there was sleet two times. That was crazy,” said O’Brien.

RunVermont Executive Director Joe Connelly says the first race had over 1,000 runners, now it’s increased to roughly 5,000.

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“It’s been it’s been a long run. And the growth over the years has been fantastic,” said Connelly.

He says it’s all about tradition and embracing the change, including the start and finish line being at Battery Park before the Waterfront was developed.

“The support of the Burlington community has been just phenomenal over the years,” he said.

And as the marathon legacy continues, O’Brien says he isn’t stopping anytime soon, athough he has heard you can keep your status as a yearly marathoner even if you run just one leg of the race.

“At some point maybe I’ll just do the half, but for now I’m still enjoying it,” he said.

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You can see live team coverage of the Vermont City Marathon on Channel 3 on Sunday morning.

The race begins around 7 a.m. but several roads will be closed in Burlington before that.

You can find more information here.



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Does Burlington have too many cannabis shops?

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Does Burlington have too many cannabis shops?


BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) – After nearly two years with a regulated cannabis market, Vermont now has 81 licensed dispensaries statewide — 12 of them alone are located in Burlington, with another two set to open soon. Many are concentrated downtown, in some cases just feet away from each other. It’s something city and state officials recognize may leave some shops in the weeds.

The Bern Gallery, a glass-blowing and smoke shop on Main Street in Burlington, has been a downtown staple for several decades.

“It’s been a very long journey,” said Tito Bern, the shop’s owner. They added the dispensary when retail cannabis became legal, something Bern thought would be a slow burn. “I thought I would be an old man before I saw this.”

Bern says the dispensary offers a unique customer experience — and a location — that can’t be beat. “Having our footprint here in downtown Burlington was incredibly helpful,” he said.

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Just a short walk over to Church Street is the Float On Cannabis Company. “We try to have a real nice vibe,” said the shop’s Mathew Hogg. “We do a lot of tourist activity. We have a lot of regular customers.”

The shop is tucked next to several other dispensaries within eyeshot. “If you want good cannabis, south end of Church Street in Burlington is the place to go and you got several to choose from,” Hogg said.

“I think it’s a totally over-saturated market here, especially downtown,” said Chloe Kunzelman, a University of Vermont student from New Jersey.

“I think there is a lot,” said Ryan Smith, another UVM student from Connecticut.

City officials agree, saying the soon-to-be 14 dispensaries are too many, too soon. “In my opinion, that’s a little bit of a saturation of the market,” said Kara Alnasrawi, the city’s director of business and workforce development.

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Even the state’s Cannabis Control Board says it’s problematic. “We do have this unnatural distribution of where they are located,” said board chair James Pepper.

So how did we get to this point of pot proliferation? When retail cannabis became legal, the Legislature gave cities and towns local control. Some municipalities like Burlington voted to allow the new market while others, like nearby South Burlington and Williston, have never voted. “We have an uncapped licensing system which allows greater access to the market, which also does have this downside where we can hit this saturation and the board doesn’t have a lot of control to temper that,” Pepper said.

It’s not just a Burlington pot problem. Over saturation is happening in other Vermont towns, too. “We are seeing pockets of density around the state where other parts of the state have cannabis deserts,” Pepper said. for comparison, he says Burlington has only three liquor stores. “The department of liquor control does an economic analysis before they hand out a new license, whether this store is going to cannibalize this other store. We don’t have that authority.”

Without a cap on the number of dispensaries in the state, Pepper says some will undoubtedly fail. He predicts more towns will take action to limit growth. “We are going to see some more local control take place and some more shifts in the market that are going to result in that,” he said.

But city leaders like Alnasrawi argue they are hamstrung on how many dispensaries are approved, saying it’s not the city’s place. “It would be unprecedented for a municipality to control what types of establishments. As long as an establishment conforms to zoning and ordinance regulations, they are allowed to be open for business,” she said.

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Elaine Young, the director of Champlain College’s marketing and communication program, says the prevalence of any one type of business — whether intended or not — sends a message to visitors.” If every other store is a cannabis shop, that starts to change the tone and tenor of what people expect from downtown. while any business is preferable to vacant storefronts, she says it’s the market that will eventually decide which will stay open.

Dispensary owners say they are aware of the competition but remain focused. “I think competition is the best. Competition is what spurs innovation, and I think innovation is the coolest,” Bern said.

“Our numbers are going up every month. So, we are getting more of the pie or the pie is getting bigger. I don’t know which is which,” Hogg said.

And those numbers could be even bigger without state laws restricting how dispensaries run ads and promotions. The rules are intended to protect underage Vermonters, but industry officials have so far been unsuccessful in getting lawmakers to modify them.

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